UPDATE: This article has been updated with new information on September 12, 2020 - 6 a.m. EST.
We've heard reports on the news that anyone (regardless of gender, race, age, and more) can become infected with COVID-19. But even thought it can effect anyone, who’s most at risk for COVID-19? Who is most likely to show symptoms and experience serious, or even fatal, side effects? Though this outbreak has infected many people worldwide, it’s important not to panic, but instead look to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) for updates, stay cautious, and understand your individual risk factor.
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The outbreak of the novel coronavirus began in Wuhan City, Hubei Province, China in December 2019. Just a few months later, as of Sep 10, 2020, there have been over 27 million confirmed cases worldwide. On Feb. 2, 2020, the World Health Organization (WHO) confirmed that COVID-19 claimed the life of a patient in the Philippines, which was the first death to occur outside of mainland China. Three days earlier, the organization declared the virus a global health emergency. However, contracting COVID-19 is not always fatal. Here’s what the CDC recommends to avoid contracting the disease, who’s most at risk and why.
Symptoms & How to Protect Yourself
According to the CDC, symptoms of confirmed cases of COVID-19 can include fever, cough, and shortness of breath. The CDC also states that “symptoms of COVID-19 may appear in as few as two days or as long as 14 days after exposure. This is based on what has been seen previously as the incubation period of MERS-CoV viruses.”
There’s currently no vaccine available to prevent COVID-19, but testing of potential medications has begun. The CDC recommends to take similar precautions as you would to stop the spread of the flu. These include staying home when you feel ill, frequently disinfecting commonly used items (such as desks, laptops, phones, and purses), washing your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, and wearing a face covering when you are going out or within six feet of others.
Who’s Most at Risk?
Elderly people and those with pre-existing conditions are most susceptible to the most extreme cases of COVID-19. Those who are healthy individuals are less likely to fall ill. Scientists theorize that the reason some people get more sick than others from COVID-19, might stem from the varied pathogen responses that come from the person who has contracted the illness, which can depend on age and genetics.
Follow your doctor’s instructions if you have a pre-existing condition or disease. Make your decisions based in fact and science and not in hysteria, and be aware that with any a new disease often comes harmful stigmas. Learn what they are so you can help help prevent yourself and others from falling into this fear.